Teeny Steps: Captive Breeding of Pacific Pocket Mice Yields 12 Pups

Posted at 11:15 pm August 14, 2013 by PR
August 14, 2013
CONTACT:   San Diego Zoo Global
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Photo News Release

Teeny Steps: Captive Breeding of Pacific Pocket Mice Yields 12 Pups

     Two Pacific pocket mouse pups that ventured away from their mother were photographed outside of their artificial burrow during the night of Aug. 13. The week-old offspring, which weigh just one gram each, are typically found with their mother and two other siblings nesting inside a four-ounce baby food jar but become more active at night. The jar and PVC pipe are designed to mimic the tunnels and burrows the Pacific pocket mice would dig in the wild.
     These pups and their mother are part of a captive breeding program for this critically endangered species managed by staff at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During this inaugural breeding season four females have given birth to a total of 12 offspring.
     This is the first time scientists have tried to breed this species in captivity. The Pacific pocket mouse, thought to be extinct in the 1980s, was rediscovered in 1993 and today exists at just three sites along the California coast. Scientists working on the captive breeding program for the Pacific pocket mouse expect to increase the overall population and also maintain genetic diversity in the species.

Photo taken on Aug. 13, 2013, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo.

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